A recently approved $40-billion federal spending bill for new airport construction and modernization will create a surge in demand for electrical products for installation in U.S. airports over the next few years. At press time, both the House of Representatives and Senate had passed the bill, which will pump an estimated $1.7 billion more per year in federal funds into airport construction. President Clinton is expected to sign the bill.
The federal Airport Improvement Program is already supporting enormous amounts of construction either on the drawing boards or now underway at the nation's airports. Major projects are either in process or about to take off in Atlanta, Denver, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco, Miami, Newark, Phoenix, and Detroit. Airports in these cities are among the top 10 in air traffic, according to Airport Council International. In Los Angeles alone, $10 billion is expected to be spent over the next 15 years on new terminals, runways, and a light rail system.
To keep pace with the growth in air travel, state and local governments have been issuing bonds for airport construction at record levels. However, federal funds pay for 90% of most costs involved. Until congressional legislators broke a six-month stalemate in early March, much of that funding was in limbo.